My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Nathaniel Hawthorne is one of my favorite authors but I disliked The Birthmark. It was not a very interesting piece. It reminded me of other war literature, which I have never been able to get into. I would have much preferred that this piece was trashed and we could have read The Minister’s Black Veil. I absolutely love that piece, but we need a diverse experience of literature with Hawthorne, so… The Birthmark and Rappaccini’s Daughter were very similar when it came to the endings. By removing the one part of the beautiful woman that was hideous, their male lovers destroyed and killed them.
In The Birthmark, I sympathized with both the husband and the wife. I am a pessimist and tend to focus on the negative aspects of something, and I wonder how I would have looked at my wife’s face if she had a birthmark like that. It didn’t seem that bad, but it makes me think of how I would feel about my wife, if God forbid, she got into a car accident and had a horrible scar on her body somewhere visible everyday. I would be very cowardly if I only focused on that, and I know that’s what Hawthorne is getting at. It is definitely a piece to make you think about how you view perfection and whether you are an optimist or pessimist.
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